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The waste choking our health system and making patients ill - Tonight on @4Corners @ABCTV

ProgrammingKevin Perry

Guest reporter Dr Norman Swan.
image - supplied/ABCTV

Screens Monday 28th September at 8.30pm on ABC

This weeks Four Corners episode presented by guest reporter Dr Norman Swan, will put the spotlight on Australia’s Medical system. When we head to the GP most of us assume “the doctor knows best”. But the truth is, many of the scans, tests and procedures ordered by medical practitioners are wasteful, unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Healthy people are needlessly being turned into patients with tests and scans leading to treatments which at best have no effect, and at worst, cause harm.

“Patients are receiving care that is sometimes ineffective and sometimes unsafe.” Health Economist


And it’s costing us a fortune:

“You know we’re just wasting hundreds of millions of dollars sending people off for unnecessary tests and exposing them to unnecessary radiation.”
“Increases in health care costs have been driven a little bit by (the) ageing of the population, a little bit by increases in the costs of technologies, but the largest drivers are over diagnosis and over treatment.”  - Health Researcher


Focussing on four common health complaints -- back pain, knee pain, chest pain and prostate testing -- Dr Swan shows how the cost to patients and taxpayers is escalating. Analysis by Four Corners found billions of dollars being squandered and more than a hundred inappropriate tests and procedures receiving Medicare rebates.

And as one interviewee explains , part of the answer lies with the public.

“If people knew that health interventions, tests and treatments were not going to deliver benefit, I think they might make different choices.” - Head of medical oversight body


WASTED, reported by Dr Norman Swan and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 28th of September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 29th at 10.00am and Wednesday 30th at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at